ADAH Digital Collections

Governors George C. and Lurleen B. Wallace Collection

Biographical description


Governor George C. Wallace:


Governor George C. Wallace was born on August 25, 1919 in Clio, Alabama. After completing a law degree in 1942, serving in the Army Air Forces during World War II, and working as an assistant attorney general for the state, Wallace was elected to the state legislature in 1946. In 1953, he ran for and was elected judge in the Third Judicial Circuit, a position he held until 1959. In 1958, Wallace ran for Governor, but was defeated by John Patterson. In 1962, he made a second run for Governor, and was victorious. He served from 1963-1967. After his wife Lurleen’s election as Governor, George Wallace served as “first gentleman” of Alabama from 1967-1968. Wallace ran for Governor again in 1970, defeating incumbent Governor Albert P. Brewer. Winning reelection to the Governor’s chair in 1974, Wallace’s second and third terms as Governor lasted from 1971-1979. Wallace ran for and was elected Governor one final time in 1982, and served from 1983-1987. Overall, George Wallace served as Governor of Alabama for sixteen years.


In addition to his gubernatorial runs and service, Wallace was a candidate for U.S. president on four occasions. In 1964, he ran in a number of northern primaries for the democratic nomination. In 1968, Wallace ran as a third party candidate for president, losing to Richard Nixon. In 1972, he ran again for the democratic nomination, but his campaign was cut short by an assassination attempt on his life by Arthur Bremer in Laurel, Maryland. In 1976, Wallace made a final fun for the democratic nomination for president, but was defeated by Jimmy Carter.


George Wallace died in Montgomery, Alabama on September 13, 1998 at 79 years of age.


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Lurleen B. Wallace:


Governor Lurleen B. Wallace was born as Lurleen Burns on September 19, 1926 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She met her future husband, George Wallace, while working at a dime store in Tuscaloosa, and they were wed on May 21, 1943. Lurleen and George Wallace had four children: Bobbie Jo, born in 1944, Peggy Sue, born in 1950, George Jr., born in 1951, and Janie Lee, born in 1961. In 1966, Mrs. Wallace ran for and won the May Democratic nomination for Governor with 54 percent of the vote, which assured her election in November. She was sworn in on January 16, 1967, but served little more than a year in office before succumbing to cancer. Upon her death on May 7, 1968, Lieutenant Governor Albert P. Brewer succeeded to the governorship and completed her term.


Lurleen Wallace served as Governor of Alabama from January 16, 1967 to May 7, 1968.


View more information about Lurleen B. Wallace's tenure as Governor of Alabama.